Boarded up houses are seen ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall, at Holden Beach, North Carolina, on September 10, 2018. (REUTERS/Anna Driver)
Charleston, United States: More than a million people were ordered Monday to evacuate the path of Hurricane Florence as the Category 4 storm packing winds of 130 miles per hour (195 kilometres per hour) bore down on the East Coast of the United States.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster told up to one million residents of the state's eastern coast to leave their homes ahead of the powerful storm's arrival on Thursday.
The governor of neighbouring North Carolina also ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks and parts of coastal Dare County while a state of emergency was declared in Virginia.
"This is a very dangerous hurricane," McMaster said, adding that the evacuation order for coastal counties was "mandatory, not voluntary."
"We do not want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane," the governor told a press conference. "We're liable to have a whole lot of flooding."
Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States already soaked by heavy rain and may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.
A Category 4 on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, Florence was 575 miles (925km) south-southeast of Bermuda and the centre of the hurricane was forecast to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory.
"Florence has continued to rapidly strengthen," the NHC said at 1500 GMT. "Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday."